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What happens at Victor Scott matters

Victor Scott School

March 21 2012Dear Sir,The best thing about tonight’s meeting at Victor Scott School was the certainty those people had that they deserved good education from their Government. It is clear at this point that private education is probably cheaper and clearly better than public education. The Government wishes to remove Victor Scott’s principal, not because she is bad but because she is good. After cultivating an effective administration the ministry would like to put her somewhere else. The parents of Victor Scott are rebelling. Government has no obvious plan. Government has a terrible record on education. Parents asked “Why should we believe this time is different?” Now that they have a school that works for them, they want to keep it. Unlike most Bermudians, who complain about education as if it were the weather, the VSS PTA is showing some un-Bermudian backbone when it comes the school their children go to. But there’s more. What Bermudians, and any one who lives here, need to do is start making education a civic responsibility. From the private schools down to the last government school in the rating, what happens at Victor Scott matters. What happens in all schools matter to all Bermudians. But these VSS parents are the parents and the children who will make a difference in education in Bermuda. Fix this and we fix many of the troubles all of us will see down the road. Learn to fix these government schools and the coming divide between rich and poor can be ameliorated in Bermuda.Natural resources are no longer the advantage they used to be. Economic advantage will not count in the future. If it did count, explain Finland, a tiny country with a lot of forest and lakes. It has one the highest standards of living in the world. Why? People! Their natural resource is people and they bother to cultivate people and make them a rich resource. Do we? No. If we have the money we send our children to the nice schools and the rest of the country be damned. When its pointed out to us, we point at the thirty year history of public education and say “How do you fix that?” But we have to. We don’t have a choice. The only way to change it is to care about it as a culture as the VSS PTA do. Now, the Government may be right maybe by some policy calculus which we mortals will never understand, it makes sense to take someone away from their brilliant work, half done and make them do something else. But even if it were true, the VSS PTA is still right.The VSS PTA is right because its approach is local, it’s communal, it’s education out of the society of the Island and its people and not by a foreign consultant’s fiat. Bermuda is never going to make the education system that works for us unless we are actually participating; the private school parents who pay taxes, their children who will live cheek by jowl with their public school brethren, and the whole machine of public education, the parents, students and teachers. It has to reflect us and be made by us. When it is, we will all stand behind it and say “This is what we have done, this is how our citizens are cultivated, this is how Bermudians learn what they are”. We will then be proud of it and ready to change it when it needs changing. We must engage. And that is what was good about that VSS PTA meeting. They were engaged. May they stay that way. The Ministry of Education has never been kind to its discontents. It usually just waits us out. So only vigilance will change it.JOHN ZUILLPaget